NOTICE OF INTENT TO OBJECT; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 137
(Senate - August 03, 2020)

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[Page S4665]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                       NOTICE OF INTENT TO OBJECT

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, in 2008, Congress responded to rising 
reports of child sexual abuse material--CSAM--online by passing the 
PROTECT Act to direct the Department of Justice to combat these heinous 
crimes. However, in the decade that followed, DOJ failed to request the 
manpower, funding, and resources to combat this scourge, leaving both 
the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children--NCMEC--and law 
enforcement agencies uncoordinated, understaffed, and underfunded. As a 
result, though tech companies reported more than 45 million instances 
of CSAM to NCMEC in the last year alone, just a fraction were 
investigated, and even fewer were prosecuted and convicted.
  Yet, rather than confronting this failure by Congress and the 
executive branch, my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee have 
put forth the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive 
Technologies--EARN IT--Act, a deeply flawed piece of legislation that 
would revoke online platforms' intermediary liability protections with 
regard to not only Federal civil Jaw, but also any State law broadly 
related to CSAM.
  The EARN IT Act will not protect children. It will not stop the 
spread of child sexual abuse material, nor target the monsters who 
produce and share it, and it will not help the victims of these evil 
crimes. What it will do is threaten the free speech, privacy, and 
security of every single American. This is because, at its core, the 
amended EARN IT Act magnifies the failures of the Stop Enabling Sex 
Traffickers Act--SESTA--and its House companion, the Fight Online Sex 
Trafficking Act--FOSTA. Experts believe that SESTA/FOSTA has done 
nothing to help victims or stop sex trafficking, while creating 
collateral damage for marginalized communities and the speech of all 
Americans. A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of FOSTA on 
First Amendment grounds is proceeding through the courts, and there is 
bicameral Federal legislation to study the widespread negative impacts 
of the bill on marginalized groups.
  Yet, the authors of the EARN IT Act decided to take this kind of 
carveout and expand it further to State civil and criminal statutes. By 
allowing any individual State to set laws for internet content, this 
bill would create massive uncertainty, both for strong encryption and 
constitutionally protected speech online. What is worse, the flood of 
State laws that could potentially arise under the EARN IT Act raises 
strong Fourth Amendment concerns, meaning that any CSAM evidence 
collected could be rendered inadmissible in court and accused CSAM 
offenders could get off scot-free. This is not a risk that I am willing 
to take.
  Let me be clear: The proliferation of these heinous crimes against 
children is a serious problem. However, for these reasons and more, the 
EARN IT Act is not the solution. Moreover, it ignores what Congress can 
and should be doing to combat this heinous crime. The U.S. has a number 
of important evidence-based programs in existence that are proven to 
keep kids safe, and they are in desperate need of funding to do their 
good work. Yet the EARN IT Act doesn't include a single dollar of 
funding for these important programs. It is time for the U.S. 
Government to spend the funds necessary to save children's lives now.
  In May of 2020, I introduced the Invest in Child Safety Act to do 
exactly that. My bill would drastically increase the number of 
prosecutors and agents hunting down child predators, require a single 
person to be personally responsible for these efforts, and direct more 
than $5 billion in mandatory funding to the folks who can actually make 
a difference in this fight.
  I believe this historic, mandatory investment in personnel and 
funding is necessary to truly take on the scourge of child 
exploitation, and I urge my colleagues to support my approach. 
Meanwhile, I intend to object to any unanimous consent agreement 
regarding the EARN IT Act.

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